A pig farm in southern province of Dong Nai (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - Vietnam is advised to compile a national framework for a supply chain to provide safe pork to serve the domestic market.

Under the framework, the chain should mainly focus on the origin and quality of pork as necessary criteria for sustainable development of pig farming industry, suggested agricultural experts at a workshop held on October 23 by the Department of Livestock Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Hanoi.

Speaking at the workshop, Vo Trong Thanh, a representative of the department, said it was estimated that pork accounted for 75 percent of the total meat consumption in the domestic market each year.

Vietnam consumed about 3.5-3.7 million tonnes of pork per year, he said.

However, it still lacks a supply chain to provide safe pork for consumers, he added.

The department has cooperated with the Hanoi-based Embassy of the Netherlands to run a four-year project since 2014 in localities of Hanoi, Bac Giang, Vinh Phuc, Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Nai.

The project, worth about 30 billion VND (1.29 million USD), saw the participation of over 1,300 households. It has concentrated on controlling food hygiene and safety in slaughterhouses, improving the capability of managing pig farms, preventing diseases, farming pigs under VietGap (Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices) standards and creating links to connect producers and consumers.

The project’s results showed that the ratio of slaughterhouses in the northern region that had signed a contract to provide pork to traders and companies remained at a low level. For example, it was only 8 percent in Hanoi.

In the meantime, the ratio is much higher in the southern region, reaching 42 percent in HCM City and 50 percent in Dong Nai province.

According to the results, most pig farm owners did not buy breeding pigs; they often selected healthy baby pigs from their available pig farms to raise. Therefore, the quality of breeding pigs is not sustainable.

Additionally, modern abattoirs in the localities were not operating at full capacity because people still preferred to use traditional slaughterhouses. As estimated, the modern abattoirs only operated at 50 percent of their capacity.

Another issue was that pig farm owners and traders had yet to fully focus on the quality of pork meat to provide to the market.

The local administration failed to get rid of traditional slaughterhouses that were operated without licences and did not follow national standards on food hygiene and safety.

Another cause was that awareness of pig farm owners, slaughterhouses and traders about food safety and hygiene was still limited.

And the last reason was that the country lacked a strong framework to better control the issue of food hygiene and safety, the results pointed out.

Ron Dwinger, the project’s coordinator, said that building the national framework for a supply chain to provide safe pork was an essential requirement for the livestock sector in Vietnam during the period of international integration. –VNS/VNA